Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Air Bound by Christine Feehan

For as far back as she can remember, Airiana Ridell has always been aware of her extraordinary gift. She can intuit revealing and illuminating 'patterns' in the air around her-whether in a spray of mist, in billowing clouds, or in the dense swirls of an impenetrable fog. Her abilities led to her placement in a secret government training facility when she was a child, but everything changed after her mother was murdered.

Airiana fled the program, but she couldn't outrun the desperate members of a shadowy cabal who want her, who need her, who will kill to get her. Kidnapped and held aboard a ship bound for dangerous seas, her only chance for rescue is Maxim Prakenskii. He has his reasons for helping her, but he isn't about to reveal them to Airiana. Not yet. Not as the two are drawn together as moth to flame. Not when there are so many secrets yet untold that could shatter the quaint community of Sea Haven and all who reside there. . .

~~

I don't know people, how much longer I can keep reading Christine Feehan. All in all Air Bound was a good addition to the Sea Haven series, and I enjoy reading how these "Sisters of the Heart" find their Prakenskii match, but the sexual violence might finally be getting to me. It didn't real feel out of place per se, especially considering the final Drake book, but it just makes me sad. I don't want to read about child predators and human trafficking rings when I'm reading a romance. Not even in a paranormal one. It immediately put a pall over everything I was reading and even while I was ready for the HEA the reality (or pseud-reality) of what the characters had experienced during the story stayed with me.

I guess in the end it's up to you. It's not a bad story and as far as alpha males go Maxim can be annoying at times but is not that bad, and he and Airiana ended up feeling like a good pair, in spite of any "fated" feelings. I just think think that as time passes I personally am having a harder time shrugging off the long term effects of sexual violence in books. It's not you ok? It's me.

Overall Feeling - B-

Series - 1) Water Bound 2) Spirit Bound 3) Air Bound

Thursday, September 11, 2014

August in Review

I'm alive! But tired, lol. DragonCon was a lot of fun, the recap post(s) is coming soon actually, but I got some Con crud and then managed to scratch my eyeball with my mascara wand, and it's just been  bit of a doozy getting myself back up to speed. So let's skip right ahead to the books I read last month!

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews
All Fired Up by Vivian Arend and Elle Kennedy
Count on Me by Lauren Dane
A Tale of Two Dragons by G.A. Aiken
Bite Me by Shelly Laurenston
Love is a Battlefield by Vivian Arend and Elle Kennedy
The Best Kind of Trouble by Lauren Dane
Hot Zone by Jayne Castle

And drum roll please.....Magic Breaks is the favorite book I read last month! Is anyone surprised? No, I didn't think so.


Links I Love
// "The Definitive Ranking Of Rory’s Hairstyles On "Gilmore Girls"" (and hey, did you hear that Gilmore Girls is coming to Netflix? Super awesome!)

// "Hey, Ladies -- Catcalls Lead to Gender-Based Violence! Deal With It."

// "The 6 Best (Non-Disney) '80s and '90s Animated Films

//"Men React to Plus-Size Snow White: We're Attracted to This" Somehow I'm both horrified and... pleasantly surprised by these comments? I think? 

//Robot Hugs - a super awesome web comic that you should read and share with all your friends too :D.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Mini-Me: All Fired Up by Vivian Arend and Elle Kennedy

He’s ready to lead the way

Parker Wilson never thought he’d go from battle-hardened soldier to romance expert, but after his stint in the Rangers, that’s exactly what happened. As the owner of DreamMakers Inc., he helps other men win in the love department, using every resource available to plan the perfect date. When a routine recon turns into an unexpected night of passion, Parker’s mission becomes more personal—and he won’t give up until Lynn Davidson is all his.

She’s more than willing to follow

Lynn is a goner from the moment she lays eyes on the delectable Parker. She’s just ditched her boring almost-boyfriend and is tired of sticking to the straight and narrow. It’s time to walk on the wild side, and what better way than in the arms of the most irresistible man she’s ever met? But when their red-hot affair is threatened, it’ll take a team effort to make their dreams come true.

~~

I picked this up on an Amazon deal I think, because I recognized the name from a different military story (I wanna say it was a menage?) I read a while back. I remember liking the story well enough and since I haven't bought a new contemporary romance - let alone an erotic one - in a while, I said what the hell. And it did a fine job for what it is. It's a short, sweet little story with a lot of spice and not tons of emotional/character development. None of which I'm complaining about. I went into this not wanting a lot of drama and Arend and Kennedy supplied - pretty much everyone is an adult who owns their sexuality without any shame. There's a bit of an over the top villain at the end, but I got exactly what I wanted/needed out of the HEA so I consider it a good buy. Plus I have the second book to see if it gets any better!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

No matter how much the paranormal politics of Atlanta change, one thing always remains the same: if there’s trouble, Kate Daniels will be in the middle of it…

As the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, she must now deal with the affairs of the pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel ancient being with god-like powers. Since Kate’s connection to Roland has come out into the open, no one is safe—especially those closest to Kate.

As Roland’s long shadow looms ever nearer, Kate is called to attend the Conclave, a gathering of the leaders from the various supernatural factions in Atlanta. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found murdered there, apparently at the hands of a shapeshifter, Kate is given only twenty-four hours to hunt down the killer. And this time, if she fails, she’ll find herself embroiled in a war which could destroy everything she holds dear…

~~

I, like many others, probably consider Magic Breaks the pivotal book of the Kate Daniels series.  Since the very beginning readers have been wondering what the showdown between Kate and Roland was going to look like, and after re-reading the book (or parts of it) about a million times I think I'm finally ready to give my thoughts.

It was awesome.

And, thankfully for my poor little heart, it was not quite as emotionally wrenching as Magic Rises, even if Kate is obviously scarred by the previous events. Facing Roland has become so much more than what her foster father Voron wanted for her - Kate has a mate along with family and friends who are significantly more important than a magically fried dead man's vendetta. So instead of a prolonged battle between Kate and Roland, the book spends more time on the lead up to her decision about what she wants in her life, with much of it riding on how she handles Hugh and his sudden appearance in Atlanta and manipulation of the People. It results in a less violent book than some of the other installments of the series, but while it is obviously a bridge since the Roland arc kind of ends, it doesn't feel like fluff. Ilona Andrews has a deft hand in changing the direction of the series, and the significant amount of individual character development makes me really excited for what's coming next. Every part of the universe we've come to love is going to change because of the events of this novel, and while I've read some reviews where people have felt like more could have been done for this initial/final showdown between Kate and Roland, I'm happy that their acrimonious relationship is going to be fodder for future novels.

Overall Feeling - A+

Series - 5) Magic Slays 6) Magic Rises 7) Magic Breaks

Monday, August 4, 2014

July in Review

Happy August friends! It's been the usually hectic month for me and I think I have to accept the fact that for the foreseeable future my "books read" number is going to be low. Like reeeeaaaal low. I don't like beating myself up about the fact that I can't read as much as I used to - life's too short and I feel like there are too many of us in the same boat.  So instead, let's just continue to take a look at what I read and the random things on the internet that brought me joy.

Bite Me by Shelly Laurenston
The Search by Nora Roberts
The Witness by Nora Roberts
Sparrow on the Hill by Seanan McGuire
Indulgence in Death by J.D. Robb

I picked up Indulgence in Death on major discount at Books-a-Million, and it was just wonderful. I know Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb is a comfort read for me but she just kicks ass pretty much every time and Eve and Roarke are one of my favorite couples ever.




Links I Love
//I think a lot of these 24 Life-Changing Ways to Store Your Beauty Products depend on a certain kind of home aesthetic but if I ever purge enough of well...everything...to do this, I would love it!

//If only I oculd knit - this DIY Knit Wonder Woman Sweater would be mine!

//I'm not going to lie, I really want to make this Bastardized Ramen Burger. Anybody with me?!




//"50 Incredible Tattoos Inspired By Books From Childhood" (strangely this makes me want to get a Totoro tattoo, even though that story was never a book from what I know and I'm not even sure how old I was when I first watched it

Friday, July 25, 2014

Mini-Me: Half-Off Ragnarok by Seanan McGuire

{Since I'm having such a hard time jumping back into reviewing lately, I thought I'd do a quick look back at a book I read a couple months ago.}


When Alex Price agreed to go to Ohio to oversee a basilisk breeding program and assist in the recovery of his psychic cousin, he didn't expect people to start dropping dead. But bodies are cropping up at the zoo where he works, and his girlfriend—Shelby Tanner, an Australian zoologist with a fondness for big cats—is starting to get suspicious.

Worse yet, the bodies have all been turned partially to stone...

The third book in the InCryptid series takes us to a new location and a new member of the family, as Alex tries to balance life, work, and the strong desire not to become a piece of garden statuary. Old friends and new are on the scene, and danger lurks around every corner.

Of course, so do the talking mice.
~~

One of the best things Seanan McGuire ever did for my sanity was write a whole blog post about why she chooses not to include sexual violence in her books. It means that when I'm feeling down or want to read something that's multi-layered with a complicated and possibly dystopian setting, I don't have to spend the whole time preparing myself for something that'll give me nightmares. There are quite enough terrible things happening in the world right now, I don't need it in my books too.

Instead when I read something like Half-Off Ragnarok I can concentrate on the characters and the relationship building, and the hidden connections that I haven't deciphered yet that make the "who dunnit" clear. Or the fact that Shelby actually went off to rescue Alex from himself only to find a completely different situation than the one she was prepared for. REGARDLESS, it's all awesome and I highly recommend this series - which I think might be kind of important to read in order as some things happened in Midnight Blue-Light Special that pick up here.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

June in Review

And now it's July! The world continues to move at super speed so I'll refrain from complaining about it, ok? But maybe you can pretend I did so we can all feel the catharsis that only comes from complaining about things we can't change and that seem to get worse as we get older, lol. I didn't read a lot of new books this month but I reread Shield of Winter possibly 8-10 times so I think I'm going to just call it a draw.

Lady Wild by Máire Claremont (B)
Count on Me by Lauren Dane (B)
Never Enough by Lauren Dane
Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh
Pia Saves the Day by Thea Harrison (A)
Peanut Goes to School by Thea Harrison

My favorite of the month is actually a tie, despite the many times I read SoW, because Pia Saves the Day was just so good! 



Links I Love
//"D.I.Y. Book Clutch" - so cool! And surprisingly easy? Well it looks that way anyway so I think I want to give it a try.

//No should be surprised that I want one of these Scarves Printed With Pages From Your Favorite Books. What a perfectly apropos fashion statement!

//"First Trailer For The New Sailor Moon Anime Shows Off Her New Look"

//"Photos: The Jazz Age Lawn Party Takes Governors Island Back In Time" - I always say I'm going to do this one year and so far that just hasn't happened. But look at these outfits - I want to fit in there!


//"One of America's Favorite Comics Just Took a Huge Step Forward for Diversity" - I never read Archie but I love the fact that they're taking steps to become more inclusive and welcome of the diversity that actually exists in the world.

//Whoa Disney, watch out, cause I think these Rejected Princesses might be coming after your thrown.

//It's not nearly cold enough for me to pretend I need a hoody from Rarity's Boutique but this Totoro one is calling my name!


//I've already got some outfits in mind for DragonCon this year but next year I may have to convince my friends that Retro Sailor Moon is the way to go.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Pia Saves the Day by Thea Harrison

Pia and Dragos’s magical young son Liam (the Peanut), is growing at an unprecedented rate, and if that isn’t enough, he is also exhibiting new, and unpredictable, magical gifts. To protect him, the concerned parents decide to move to upstate New York.

Both Dragos and Pia relish the idea of leaving behind the city. They finally have the space to indulge their Wyr side, and Liam can grow in safety. It’s a breath of fresh air—literally—but their idyllic situation is shattered when Dragos is injured in a freak accident.

Stripped of his memory and bereft of Pia’s taming influence, there’s nothing holding back Dragos’s darkest side. And in order to restore her family and save her mate, Pia must confront the most powerful menace in Elder Races history.

It’s going to take more than a penny to fix this

~~

Since Pia and Dragos are and have consistently always been my favorite couple in the Elder Races universe, I knew I would enjoy Pia Saves the Day. What I didn't expect was for Harrison to take a (comparative to her other novels) short story and use it to introduce a huge bump in the road to her entire series.

And it's a bump only sort of related to the couple themselves. Pia might have to work to reconnect with Dragos, but for a paranormal romance series, you knew they were going to find their way. Now, navigating the relationship between a unicorn and a millennia old dragon who doesn't remember anything isn't the easiest thing to accomplish I grant you, but hey - that' the fun of the story. My heart broke a little for Pia at the end when she was reunited with Liam, because it was yet another unexpected change to their circumstances instigated by a horrible accident. But in the en,d the actions in this story will have an immeasurable effect on the Wyr world in future books. I can't wait to find out what happens next in Peanut Goes to School (July 2014)!

Overall Feeling - A

Series - 5) Lord's Fall 6) Kinked 6.5) Dragos Takes a Holiday 6.6) Pia Saves the Day
 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Count on Me by Lauren Dane

Petal is the last place Caroline Mendoza thought she’d end up. Sixteen years ago she lost both parents there—her mother to murder and her father to prison for the crime. Since then she’s built a successful life, but she’s never let go of the belief her father is innocent.

Now she’s back in Petal to find the truth. With a new job and a mystery to solve, she’s got plenty on her plate. But when she bumps into Royal Watson, the sparks fly hard and fast.

When the whipsmart, opinionated lawyer blows into town like a beautiful storm, Royal has a reason to make the time to get off his organic farm and pursue her. And soon their intense attraction is tipping into something more.

As Caroline’s dogged investigation digs up ghosts of the past, there’s not much time for basking in love’s glow. The closer she gets to the truth, the more threatened the real killer gets…and the greater the danger that all her digging could lead to her own grave.
~~

Petal,GA has been a solidly good but perhaps not my very favorite of series from Lauren Dane. I think this particular installment shows both why her romances work very well and what some of the pitfalls are with small town mentalities.

First, the good- Royal is a terrific hero. I never felt like I got to know him in previous books, when he was just Anne's boyfriend, but on his own he proves himself to be a smart, strong, and reliable human being, who's experienced enough emotionally to be able to empathize with a variety of people. It's been over a year since his breakup when he meets Caroline again, and the two of them enter in their relationship with one of the cutest grocery store scenes I've ever read (when I do I get to stumble upon a cowboy hottie in the cereal aisle?).

Their relationship is the highlight throughout the story, deservedly so, but I do admit to getting a little distracted by the small town politics that were much more prominent in this book. I couldn't understand or believe that all these different people would be angry with Caroline for moving away from Petal. Really? Even without the extenuating circumstances with her parents, it has to mean that she's a bad egg, or that she thinks something derogatory about the town? Shrug. I couldn't be completely on board with that, though I do think Dane did a phenomenal job painting the complicated layers that exist between family members, especially when there are generations of institutionalized racism not being recognized as such. 

And I could write an entire paragraph about Anne and her duplicity and how there's no way in HELL I'd be a big enough woman to get over that and befriend her. But that's me.

Overall Feeling - B

Series - 1) Once and Again 2) Lost in You 3) Count on Me

Monday, June 16, 2014

Lady Wild by Máire Claremont

Victorian England is about to go wild…

Lady Ophelia longs to be independent, daring and bold, but her mother’s illness has stolen the last of her creative fire. Condemned to an isolated country cottage after the death of her idealistic father, she and her mother are forsaken by family and all of society. Disappointed by those she once trusted, Lady Ophelia lovingly nurses her dying mother knowing that her own dreams of being an artist will never be realized. That is until she meets a devilish aristocrat who reawakens her desire to be wild.

Viscount Stark has never known love. Reputed to be a rebel and a rake by all, at heart he is anything but. When he meets Lady Ophelia, he is struck by her haunting presence, dignity, and honor. Will he continue to play his wicked games and risk ruining the last of Lady Ophelia’s wounded heart? Or will he dare to be the gentleman he always wanted to be and unveil a love he never thought possible?

~~

Despite the fact that I've been following Máire on Twitter for a while, Lady Wild is the first story of hers that I've read. She released this title with a special price of $.99 with the goal of raising $10,000 for hospice care in honor of her parents who she lost to cancer. With such a worthy goal and a book summary that seemed right up my alley, I had to give this a try.

Lady Wild is a short but satisfactory love story, that has enough emotional angst to make the simple plot work really well. Andrew (Viscount Stark) may have lived an outwardly privileged life, but the loveless family he grew up in has left him scarred and doubtful that there's anything else out there. Ophelia has suffered too many betrayals by those she trusted, losing loved ones to death and rejection, that acting as her mother's caretaker in her final days threatens to crush her spirit along with her dreams.

I didn't dwell much on how realistic their coupling actually was because honestly, it didn't matter. Andrew and Ophelia found in each other the missing parts of their hearts, which sounds corny but in a good romance is exactly what you're looking for. The fact that Andrew and Lady Darlington (Ophelia's mother) were also able to make a connection, even for the short time they knew each other, helped make what could have been a bittersweet ending more peaceful. 

Overall Feeling - B

Series - 1) Lady Wild

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

May in Review

So let's discuss about how part of the reason this monthly look-back is late was my belief that at home I had some long detailed list of all the books I'd read this past month. 

False.

At home I had exactly three things on my damn spreadsheet, even though I'm convinced that I had to have read something else, because whenever I have a free moment I'm always reading or re-reading. Sheesh brain, get it together. And I'm sure you're all super interested in finding out what the "three books" I read this month are right?  

Hard Time by Cara McKenna (B)
Half-Off Ragnarok by Seanan McGuire
The Last Bride in Ballymuir by Dorien Kelly

Since only two of those books were actually knew, I'm going to call this month's favorite Half-Off Ragnarok, which I'll get around to reviewing before I forget about it again, because it's a really great book. 


I did manage to collect quite a few awesome links though so don't forget to check out the copious bounty below!

Links I love 
 
//"These Pop Culture Icons Are Carved Entirely Out of Crayons". I can't imagine what it must feel like to be so talented. Amazing!

//"LeVar Burton is Kickstarting the Return of Reading Rainbow" (& made his goal in less than a day! Much less!)

//"Can a Comic Con Approach Work for the Book Industry?" - I've dabbled in Armchair BEA and generally consider myself a Con goer solely for the opportunity to listen to respected voices speak on a number of issues. Would a BookCon appeal to me? Definitely. Is BEA going to be my BookCon? Hmmm....

//These #YesAllWomen posters are depressingly spot on. But so is the whole hash tag so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. 

//Chipotle makes everything better. This article just makes that even more obvious to those who doubted ;).

//I didn't know you get could get Out of Print shirts at Pinup Girl Clothing! I love seeing the pieces on different body types.

//"It Took 30 Artists To Redo Ghost In The Shell's Opening In Live Action" - Ghost in the Shell is one of those movies I will never forget. Watched early in my anime life it's incredibly visuals and thought provoking story stuck with me. This live action take is so interesting!

//I have to admit, I'm not sure I'd use any of these Literary Cookie Cutters but that's mostly because I like my cookies of the break and back variety!

//"Sailor Moon Meets Kill La Kill In This Amazing Samurai Senshi Fan Art" - I've never watched Kill La Kill but these beautiful (& deadly) renditions of the Sailor Scouts has me intrigued...

//"Home Improvement Shows, Ranked" - WHERE IS KITCHEN CRASHERS LINDY?! Rehab Addict and Kitchen Crashers are possibly the two best shows on HGTV!


Friday, May 30, 2014

Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop

After winning the trust of the terra indigene residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.

The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others, resulting in the murders of both species in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard—Lakeside's shape-shifting leader—wonders whether their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or of a future threat.

As the urge to speak prophecies strikes Meg more frequently, trouble finds its way inside the Courtyard. Now the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent on reclaiming their blood prophet—and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.
~~

Despite what the looong silence here on the ol' blog might lead you to believe, I haven't stopped reviewing. I just got a new job that suddenly requires me to actually do work during the day (can you imagine?!) and I haven't found my groove in the evenings/weekends yet to balance that out. I love the people I work with but honestly, I'd forgotten what it was like to not know everything about what I was doing.

But anyway...

As a re-introductory of sorts I decided that there was not a better thing to talk about then the book I saved for Puerto Rico (and have read a billion times since then), Anne Bishop's Murder of Crows. The second book in her Others series, Murder of Crows focuses even more on the mystery of the cassandra sangue, and what their existence means to the Others. It's a phenomenal balancing act of mystery, action, and a tiny bit of romance. The relationships between the somewhat large cast of characters are layered and changing all the time - human, Other, what have you. Politics and self-preservation even come into play as some of the human employees of the Courtyard have defend their feelings (or loyalty) to the Others to other humans.

Nothing is as simple as it seems on the surface and Bishop is a master as making you think; what could happen if these people do this? If these two people feel this? They're tough questions with sometimes deadly consequences, but unlike some of her past work (Black Jewel Trilogy anyone?) nothing's terribly heartbreaking. At least not yet.

Overall Feeling - A+

Series - 1) Written in Red 2) Murder of Crows

Friday, May 16, 2014

Hard Time by Cara McKenna

In this all-new novel from the author of Unbound, a woman with a rocky past finds romance in the last place she’d ever expect...

Annie Goodhouse doesn’t need to be warned about bad boys; good sense and an abusive ex have given her plenty of reasons to play it safe. But when she steps into her new role as outreach librarian for Cousins Correctional Facility, no amount of good sense can keep her mind—or eyes—off inmate Eric Collier.

Eric doesn’t claim to be innocent of the crime that landed him in prison. In fact, he’d do it again if that’s what it took to keep his family safe. Loyalty and force are what he knows. But meeting Annie makes him want to know more.

When Eric begins courting Annie through letters, they embark on a reckless, secret romance—a forbidden fantasy that neither imagines could ever be real…until early parole for Eric changes everything, and forces them both to face a past they can’t forget, and a desire they can’t deny.
~~

I rarely choose to pick a book where I know at least some of the plot is going to end up making me feel uncomfortable, but after all the hype on Twitter and the wonderful reviews going around about Hard Time I knew I had to at least try it for myself. And I have to say I don't regret reading it.

Cara McKenna doesn't downplay or put rose colored glasses over the realities of prison time for the inmates Annie works with. They're interested in her presence solely because of what she is: a woman. Her connection with Eric is completely unexpected and while I've never believed sparks can really just, you know, spark like that, the letters they write each other were enough to keep me invested in how important their relationship was to them. When it finally evolved to the point that they could be together nothing was an easy fix; dynamics had to be renegotiated and each person's comfort zones and turn-ons became topics of conversation that brought them closer together.

In the end, despite the fact that dealing with Eric's family was enough drama for any one person, I was almost sad not to learn more about how their relationship was accepted by Annie's father. The happy ending was almost unexpected after all the hurdles and difficult emotional barriers, but it turned out all the more satisfying because of them.

Overall Feeling - B

Series - None

**Title requested from NetGalley*

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick

One does not expect to be kidnapped on a London street in broad daylight. But Amity Doncaster barely escapes with her life after she is trapped in a carriage with a blade-wielding man in a black silk mask who whispers the most vile taunts and threats into her ear. Her quick thinking, and her secret weapon, save her . . . for now.

But the monster known in the press as the Bridegroom, who has left a trail of female victims in his wake, has survived the wounds she inflicts and will soon be on his feet again. He is unwholesomely obsessed by her scandalous connection to Benedict Stanbridge—gossip about their hours alone in a ship’s stateroom seems to have crossed the Atlantic faster than any sailing vessel could. Benedict refuses to let this resourceful, daring woman suffer for her romantic link to him—as tenuous as it may be.

For a man and woman so skilled at disappearing, so at home in the exotic reaches of the globe, escape is always an option. But each intends to end the Bridegroom’s reign of terror in London, and will join forces to do so. And as they prepare to confront an unbalanced criminal in the heart of the city they love, they must also face feelings that neither of them can run away from. . .
~~

Here's something rarely seen on the blog anymore - a good ol' historical romance! Combine my slowing rate of reading with a general lack of historicals on my shelves, and the even the good ones don't get featured as often as they should. 

Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz/Jayne Castle is one of my favorite authors. She continues to write soothing but entertaining romances, where the HEA might be guaranteed but there's sure to be just enough twists and turns on the journey to keep you interested. Otherwise Engaged might not be my favorite, but Amity's independence and ability to protect herself (plus her interests) made her a fun heroine to navigate the world through. This was especially true once she and Benedict started to solve (what appeared to be) two mysteries simultaneously, because in every conversation or interactions sparks flew which meant the banter meter was high which is just the way I like it.

The Bridegroom was a good villain, sufficiently threatening and secretive, but there started to be so many unknown "to be revealed" moving parts that things got a tad unbelievable near the end. But hey, I'm not reading a romance for total believability, and in the end things worked out as they should.

Overall Feeling - B-

Series - None

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

April in Review

And here we are at May! Like everyone else it seems I can't believe we're almost halfway through 2014 o_O. There have been some definite shake ups in my life recently and hopefully I'll be able to share any exciting developments soon. Until then I'm still working through those #postvacationblues because Puerto Rico was just too much fun! How is anyone supposed to go back to real life after that much concentrated beach time?!

Falling Light Thea Harrison (B+)
Sun, Sand, and Sex by Linda Lael Miller, Jennifer Apodaca, Shelly Laurenston (A-/B+)
Fired Up by Jayne Ann Krentz
Tart by Lauren Dane
Oracle's Moon by Thea Harrison
Never Enough by Lauren Dane
Whisper of Sin by Nalini Singh
Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop
Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick

My favorite this month was one I knew would be phenomenal, which is part of the reason why I saved it for PR - Murder of Crows by Anne  Bishop! The world she's created it just incredible, which I hope to go into more in my review, and if you haven't picked the first book up yet I highly recommend you do!



But what else did I love this month?


Links I Love
//The Steampunk Workspace for Two. Beautiful. Simply, beautiful.

//Sailor Scouts dressed up as the Avengers - why has this never been done before?!



//25 Fun Facts about A League of Their Own

//This Femme Gipsy Danger *IS* Awesome!

//An incredibly amazing but also incredibly priced Nightmare Before Christmas clock



//"Why "A League Of Their Own" Is An Overlooked Feminist Triumph" (a great movie but I'm such a wimp about the ending that I usual like to flip between this and something else whenever I find it on tv.)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

so about that week of radio silence...

Sorry friends! I kind of forgot about the fact that maybe giving the world a heads up before I went on vacation would be a good idea. I've spent the last few days enjoying the sights, sounds, and foods of Puerto Rico. I am super tan, kind of tired, and a little sad to be back at work. Despite the #postvacationblues I love the fact that I had lots of great reading time and got through the best bits and pieces of my TBR pile. Yay!


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sun, Sand, and Sex by Linda Lael Miller, Jennifer Apodaca, and Shelly Laureston

What's better than a long, lazy day at the shore? Think beach—blanket bingo with a sizzling hottie (or three). So sit back, relax, and don't worry about tan lines, because in this scorching collection, swimsuits are definitely optional...

LINDA LAEL MILLER
"One Last Weekend"
College sweethearts Teague and Joanna Darby, once passionately in love, are on the brink of divorce. When a ferry strike leaves them stranded together at their beloved beach cottage, it could be the most awkward weekend ever. Or the perfect chance to fall for each other all over again-one steamy encounter at a time...

JENNIFER APODACA
"You Give Love a Good Name"
Lexie Rollins is a wedding planner on the lam. All she did was defend herself (with a staple gun) against a sleazy groom-who knew the Assault and Battery charges would stick? Now Lexie's "vacation" at an exclusive resort has put her at the top of gorgeous bounty hunter Nick Vardolous's list. And Nick always gets his woman-every which way imaginable...

SHELLY LAURENSTON
"My Kind of Town"
Deputy Kyle Treharne of seaside Smithville, North Carolina, hates Yankees-even exotically beautiful ones like Emma Lucchesi. The sexy New Yorker's got trouble written all over her, and she knows more than she's telling about the increasingly strange goings-on in his town. But if the lady's got a few tricks up her sleeve, so does the lawman. And it's high time for every wicked thing to be deliciously revealed...

~~

After Shelly Laurenston released a snippet of  "My Kind of Town" in her latest newsletter, I knew I had to have this anthology.  I love her writing all day everyday, but somehow I missed that there was another story in her Long Island Coven series! Boo!

Still, even though I bought it for her, all the stories ended up being good. I probably haven't read anything by Linda Lael Miller in years but I liked the way she created a realistic portrayal of a marriage near its breaking point, torn apart by misunderstanding and bad communication. "You Give Love a Good Name" was a more typical alpha male meets girl story but it was still amusing and I loved how Lexie was the one who saved Nick in the end.

I picked this up for $3 or so on Amazon and I totally recommend it!

Overall Feeling - A-/B+

Series - Various

Monday, April 14, 2014

Falling Light by Thea Harrison

Troubled by dreams of creatures, and unfamiliar voices echoing in her head, Mary has always felt a disconnect in this world—until she met the enigmatic stranger, Michael. He knew about Mary’s past. He was in it. Searching for her. His soul mate. And it’s taken centuries to find her, to re-engage her in an ancient, celestial cause: find the Deceiver before he destroys the world.

Haunted by scores of deaths—their own—Mary and Michael have drawn on the wisdom of the ages, and the power it has given them to fight the most malevolent force known to man. Joining a select band of warriors, Mary and Michael are nearer to understanding the Deceiver and all he stands for. It’s a terrifying reality that also brings them closer to realizing their own destiny and purpose. And that love—like evil—is eternal.

~~

Rising Darkness, the first novel of the Games of Shadows series, was enough of an emotional roller coaster that I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into with book two.  I also didn't realize before I started that this book was going to conclude Mary and Michael's arc with The Deceiver and I just may have done a little happy dance when I did! Urban Fantasies can often be open ended series, and while I love the way Harrison writes and the world she's created here is so different that it deserves as many books as it can hold, I can't always cry when I pick up a book ok?! It gets to be too much for me, lol.

And this series is definitely more Urban Fantasy than romance because while there is romance in the story the focus is much more on how Mary and Michael are going to defeat the big bad. And the big bad here is REALLY big and bad, as he jumps bodies and kills people indiscriminately with no sign of remorse.  Combined with unexpected moral questions about possession and trust issues amongst allies and the end result is a fast paced, enthralling read with a satisfying ending. I'm not sure where Harrison intends to take the world, as in I can't find online if there are going to be more books or not, but with at least one main supporting character still remaining who has a journey of his own to finish, I can only hope so!

Overall Feeling - B+

Series - 1) Rising Darkness 2) Falling Light

Monday, April 7, 2014

Bite Me by Shelly Laurenston

Livy Kowalski has no time for idiots.  When you shapeshift into a honey badger, getting through life’s irritants is a finely honed skill. Until she gets stuck housing her nutso cousin and dealing with her dad’s untimely and unexplained demise.

That’s where Vic Barinov comes in—or his house does. Vic can’t step outside without coming back to find Livy devouring his honey stash and getting the TV remote sticky. It gets his animal instincts all riled up. But he’ll have to woo her at high speed: all hell is breaking loose, and Livy is leading the charge…
~~

Considering the fact that I have reread this approximately 10 times since finishing it the day it came out, I think it's safe to assume that this book is a keeper. Like the other stories in this series, Laurenston keeps the tempo up with smart dialogue and fierce action, whether it's between two bored shifters or between a honey badger and the idiot trying to lie to her.

I've read some other reviews that referred to the romance between Livvy and Vic as a bit of a slow burn, but I kind of think that's part of its charm. Even Livvy has to admit that the grizzly bear in Viv makes him prone to startling, so she has to take things slower than usual. But slower definitely doesn't translate to boring or less ridiculously hilarious, especially once Livvy is hired to be the photographer for Blaine's double wedding.

On the plot front things with Whitlan finally get wrapped up, in part because Laurenston doesn't plan to write any more Pride books for a while, and boy does he get what's coming to him. All in all this is a fantastically entertaining book that has the main characters from previous books come back for at least a little (if not a lot) screen time.

Overall Feeling - A

Series - 7) Bear Meets Girl 8) Wolf With Benefits 9) Bite Me
 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Her Kind of Trouble by Sarah Mayberry

The moment Vivian Walker spies Seth Anderson she knows they're a match made in hedonistic pleasure. And they both agree their one night together is all about fun, not forever.

Now, years later, Seth remains a favorite memory. Surely the sizzling chemistry has faded, though, right? Apparently not. Because he's still sinfully attractive, and she likes the man he is. When he suddenly becomes a full-time dad to his newborn daughter, Vivian falls hard. Yet despite the responsibilities, he's not a good bet for commitment. And she needs to guard her heart before she gets into trouble!
~~

I haven't read a contemporary romance like this in a while. When Vivian and Seth first get together, happily ever after isn't in the cards at all. In fact, both of them would probably rather cut off a limb then be tied down to another person. The resulting sexcapades are made all the more real by the fact that when these two say they don't want a future, they actually mean it. It takes another 10 years before circumstances have these two breathing the same air again, and when Mayberry means to have life hit a person hard, it does.

Seth doesn't have to just deal with his brother and sister-in-law asking him to be guardian of their children in case of their passing, but he suddenly has his own daughter to think about when one of his past flings finds out she's pregnant. Even though this was never his plan for himself, Mayberry doesn't turn his ex-girlfriend into the villain, instead writing her to be as human and fallible as the rest of us are. An unfortunate accident leaves him with primary care and leads him to rely on the help of his family, and as it turns out, Vivian. Neither of them can avoid confronting the misconceptions they have about each other, and the burgeoning realization that each one has wants and needs they never faced before. Their HEA in the end is satisfying and sweet, even if the location where they finally admit to their feelings might not have been my favorite (or the most appropriate).

Overall Feeling - B+

Series - None

**Title requested from NetGalley**

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

March in Review

I've actually been having a lot of fun with my reading this month. I still haven't come up that far on my "new and noteworthy" list but reacquainting myself with the oldies but goodies on bookshelves is an adventure all on its own. I  can't wait to play catchup this month though, because the latest Anne Bishop is calling my name!

I also did some "burnt newspaper" nails last weekend 
during the unending rain in DC.

Once in a Lifetime by Jill Shalvis (C)
Devil's Bride by Stephanie Laurens
The Winning Hand by Nora Roberts
The MacGregor Grooms by Nora Roberts
Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire (A+)
The MacGregor Brides by Nora Roberts
The Calender Girls: Flavor of the Month by Madison Hayes
The MacGregors: Alan ~ Grant by Nora Roberts
The Perfect Neighbor by Nora Roberts
Written in Red by Anne Bishop
Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts
Her Kind of Trouble by Sarah Mayberry
Hope Ignites by Jaci Burton (A)
Bite Me by Shelly Laurenston

My favorite this month has to go to Seanan McGuire. It might have taken me many many moons to finally read Chimes at Midnight, but it was awesome!



And now on to other random/cool things I found on the internet!


Links I Love
 //D.C. Launches First Ever Transgender Respect Ad Campaign - I have my feelings about the city I live in (good and bad) but this is just fantastic.

//Someone Give Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart a Late Night Talk Show - Yes, please. All the yeses in the world should go to this idea.

//This print is adorable! And exactly how I feel about my friends. 


//I'm becoming more and more a broach person as time goes on, and these classic book ones are adorable!

//Guys I want to see Boxtrolls so badly! Give it to me now!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Hope Ignites by Jaci Burton

Logan McCormack likes his isolated life on the ranch, until a movie crew starts filming there. When actress Desiree Jenkins blows into his life, she wrecks it harder than the Oklahoma winds with her brutal honesty and soft touch. Des knows this is a temporary stay, but she loves the open freedom of the land, and for the first time in her life, Des feels like she might have found a place she can call home, with a man she might be falling in love with. But Logan’s heart is tougher than the soil beneath them—can she convince him that they belong together?
~~

In my reading life lately, I've been loving the well written contemporary romance. Even though I didn't absolutely love Jill Shalvis' latest effort, the romance between the leads and the small town setting had me semi-satisfied. This new "Hope" series book by Jaci Burton however I enjoyed from start to finish, as Logan and Des not only turned out to be completely likeable on their own, but were fantastic together too. 

I kind of feel like this book read and as updated Diana Palmer, with Logan as the gruff cynical cowboy and Des as the young - but not too young - heroine. Luckily Logan wasn't an asshole for 90% of the book and Des wasn't the innocent virgin, ignorant of any feelings "down there". Instead we have two people in seemingly very different places in their lives, who happen upon each other and a relationship they never expected. You always know in a romance that the couple are going to find their HEA in the end, so even when Logan was at his most stubborn things had to work out, but instead of any grand emotional gestures without explanation, Des and Logan spent a lot of time talking out their problems. It was incredibly refreshing to have them work through the pasts that had shaped them as people and the issues that made them hesitant to commit. Combined with a fun and unique supporting cast I really loved Hope Ignites and I can't wait for Hope Burns!

Overall Feeling - A

Series - 1) Hope Flames 2) Hope Ignites 3) Hope Burns (Sept 2014)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire

Things are starting to look up for October "Toby" Daye. She's training her squire, doing her job, and has finally allowed herself to grow closer to the local King of Cats. It seems like her life may finally be settling down...at least until dead changelings start appearing in the alleys of San Francisco, killed by an overdose of goblin fruit.

Toby's efforts to take the problem to the Queen of the Mists are met with harsh reprisals, leaving her under sentence of exile from her home and everyone she loves. Now Toby must find a way to reverse the Queens decree, get the goblin fruit off the streets--and, oh, yes, save her own life, since more than a few of her problems have once again followed her home. And then there's the question of the Queen herself, who seems increasingly unlikely to have a valid claim to the throne....

To find the answers, October and her friends will have to travel from the legendary Library of Stars into the hidden depths of the Kingdom of the Mists--and they'll have to do it fast, because time is running out. In faerie, some fates are worse than death.

October Daye is about to find out what they are.

~~

So it may have taken me about a jillion years (aka 7 months) but I finally finished Chimes at Midnight and it was freaking awesome. As usual really, which makes me kick myself for waiting so long to read it. But sadly, when the brain decides its not ready for something horrible to happen to one of its favorite characters, its not ready. Happily somewhere between Tuesday and Wednesday things worked itself out and instead of getting the sleep I kind of desperately need, I finished this.

McGuire writes incredible urban fantasy adventures. Filled with the kind of characters and world building you dream of, and seven books in things are still going strong. Despite the hint of a happy ending between Toby and Tybalt, the world of Faerie isn't done with them, and the royal machinations spill out once again to send our intrepid hero out to save the day. Or at least save a few people and not get herself killed. 

I loved everything about this book honestly, it's one of those reads that manages to be both full of plot and quick to grasp/entertaining, but the relationship between Toby and Tybalt was off the charts. They've finally embraced the feelings they have for each other and spend a lot of the book balancing those with their goals - the things they have to do protect what is meaningful to them or the people who can't protect themselves. Watching (reading) them navigate the tricky waters of respect and understanding of each others needs is beautiful and believable; I think that no matter the people involved, couples meant to last have to be able to communicate and listen to each other. Toby and Tybalt might stumble at times but when pushed to confront their own biases they're able to think through problems and come to a solution that works for everyone.

So, uh, yeah. I loved this book. While it's not really great as a stand alone, it's a wonderful continuation of a series that doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon (YAY!).

Overall Feeling - A+

Series - ... 6) Ashes of Honor 7) Chimes at Midnight